Month:

June, 2007

Fifteen years ago today, Susan and I were married. It hardly seems possible that so much time could have passed in what seems like the blink of an eye, but it certainly has.

Thanks for the fifteen best years of my life to my best friend and favorite companion. Here’s to many more to come.

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I got to Gettysburg at 1:00 on Friday afternoon. I hooked up with pal Dwayne Siskey, and we met Dave Roth, the publisher of Blue & Gray magazine at the visitor’s center. We loaded into Dave’s truck and headed down to the south end of the field, so I could show Dave the traditional interpretation of Farnsworth’s Charge. Dave shot a bunch of photos for it and some in the Wheatfield for another article, and we then headed up to Carlisle. We shot some photos for my piece on Stuart’s shelling of Carlisle, including a couple at my alma mater, Dickinson College. We also found a house just behind the campus that was struck by one of Breathed’s shells. We headed back to Gettysburg via York Springs and Heidlersburg, where I showed Dave one of my very favorite obscure spots, where Rhodes’ Division camped on the night of June 30, 1863. It was a spot that Dave had never seen, which was the best part. We got back to Carlisle and said goodbye to Dave, who headed back here to Columbus. Dwayne and I had dinner at the Gingerbread Man, and I then gave him a quick and dirty tour of East Cavalry Field. We stopped by Stan O’Donnell’s mansion by East Cavalry Field and had a beer with him before going to the bookstore at the Farnsworth House, and then on to the Reliance Mine Saloon. When we got to the Mine, I was pleasantly surprised to find old pal Blake Magner there. Blake’s done the maps for seven of my books, and he’s a guy I really enjoy working with. I had no idea Blake would be there, so that was fun. Randy Sauls, who is a regular reader of this blog, also walked in with several of his pards. Randy recognized me, and we sat and talked for quite a while. I enjoyed that. J. D. showed up about 9:00, and we all hung out until about 11:30. We then went back to Dwayne’s to try to get some sleep.

Saturday morning, we got up early, had breakfast at The Avenue (no visit to Gettysburg is complete without at least one breakfast at The Avenue), and headed south. When we got to Westminster, we couldn’t find the site of encampment, as it wasn’t marked. The event was nice, but it was poorly organized. Nobody knew anything of what was going on, and we had to figure it out on our own. We finally found the site, set up our display, and waited. And waited. And waited. We sold six books the whole time we were there. It didn’t even pay for the gasoline for the trip.

Two Authors

J. D. and me talking at the Corbit’s Charge event. We had about ten people listening to us.

Another shot of the two authors

More of Dwayne’s good camera work while we were discussng our book.
The passage of the horses was a major distraction. For me, too.

4th Virginia Cavalry

There was a very nice ceremony honoring the men who participated in Corbit’s Charge. The bulk of the Confederate fighting was done by the 4th Virginia Cavalry of Fitz Lee’s Brigade. Nine reenactors of the 4th Virginia participated in the ceremony to honor the brave men who fought there. They were quite good–authentic and well disciplined.

The Honor Guard

The local SCV chapter provided an honor guard that featured a bag piper and drummers. This photo shows that honor guard.

The Corbit Charge Monument

Last June, a handsome monument was dedicated to Corbit’s Charge. The monument sits in the small veterans’ park across the street from the Carroll County Courthouse. Here it is after the wreath laying ceremony.

A 21 gun salute

Two lieutenants of the 4th Virginia Cavalry were killed during the fighting that followed Corbit’s Charge. One of them, Lt. John William Murray, still rests in the Episcopal churchyard across the street from the courthouse. There was a wreath laying ceremony at his grave that featured a 21-gun salute by the reenactors of the 4th Virginia Cavalry. Here they are firing that salute.

Tom Legore

Local historian Tom LeGore has dedicated more than 40 years to the study of Corbit’s Charge. He’s the one responsible for the monument, and Tom is also responsible for the commemoration of the charge. This is J. D. and me with Tom by Lt. Murray’s grave.

Here’s a shot of Lt. Murray’s grave after the wreath laying ceremony.

We left Westminster at 4:00. As I said, we sold six books the whole day. From a financial standpoint, the day was a disaster, big time. Another author sold only two. However, his trip was much shorter, so it cost him less, and he lost less. I was glad we got to see the ceremony, and we also had a good opportunity to hang out with two old friends, Alan Shikhvarg and Gerry Mayers, who were there as their alter egos, Lt. Gen. James Longstreet and Maj. Fairfax, who was Longstreet’s adjutant. Pete Huey and his lovely wife also made the trip over to see us, and brought us some really cool stuff pertaining to his great-grandfather, Bvt. Brig. Gen. Pennock Huey. It was great to meet Pete and to see just a small percentage of what he’s got.

We drove back up to Gettysburg via Taneytown, where we saw Meade’s and Hancock’s headquarters on the night of June 30. When we got to Gettysburg, we stopped by Dean Shultz’s house for a while. Dean was hosting a pig roast for the Gettysburg College Civil War Institute. We visited for a while, and I got to catch up with regular reader Pete Vermilyea. From there, it was off to dinner at the Cozy Inn in Thurmont, Maryland. J. D. has a hollow leg, and he can really pack it away. Consequently, buffets are very popular with him, and this one was no exception. From there, it was back to Mine for a while. Although the day was not a financial success, it was nevertheless a good one.

Sunday morning, it was off to Antietam. Time was short, so we stopped at McDonald’s for breakfast. I ran into Rick Carlile, who gave me the last set of letters for my history of the Lancers and his friend Craig, so we visited with them for a while. They were in town for the annual relic show at the Eisenhower Convention Center. We got there about 9:30 for a general overview tour. We had what may be a first: a meeting of four Civil War bloggers. If you click on the picture, you will be taken to a larger view.

The Four Bloggers

Here are the four bloggers, from left to right: Ranger Mannie Gentile, me, J. D., and Dimitri Rotov. Dimitri has written up his account of the tour, and so has J. D..

The Dunker Church

Mannie gives a killer overview tour. I’ve spent a good amount of time at Antietam and know the battle reasonably well, but I was impressed by his tour.

This is the Dunker Church from the Cornfield.

The West Woods

Union Second Corps monuments at the West Woods.

The Sunken Road

The Sunken Road.

The McKinley Monument

This is my all-time favorite Civil War monument on any battlefield: the monument to Sgt. William McKinley, for bravely serving coffee to the troops under fire and without orders. It’s really the silliest monument ever, but it’s also testimony to the incredible popularity of McKinley at the time of his assassination.

Burnsides Bridge

A shot of Burnside’s Bridge from above.

At the end of the tour, Dimitri left us–he had stuff to do and had to take off. It was great to meet him, and I think his idea of a blogger get-together is a great one. Dwayne, J. D., and I then headed down to Harpers Ferry for a quick visit. We had lunch and wandered around for a couple of hours. Given the gorgeous weather, it’s no surprise that the place was jam packed.

Jefferson Rock

This is the Jefferson Rock on Loudoun Heights, overlooking the Shenandoah River. Pres. Thomas Jefferson stood on this rock, which is the origin of the name.

The Shenandoah River

Here’s the confluence of the Shenandoah and Potomac Rivers near the arsenal at Harpers Ferry.

JD and Dwayne

This is a shot of J. D. and Dwayne at the Jefferson Rock.

JD and me!

J. D. and me at the Jefferson Rock, with the Shenandoah River behind and below us.

We then headed back to the Antietam visitor’s center, where I had left the car, and I hit the road for home.

Many thanks to Dwayne for being a good sport, a good host, and for doing an excellent job as official photographer for the weekend.

It was a very intense weekend, with a LOT packed into a very short period of time. No wonder I’m tired tonight. ๐Ÿ™‚

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24 Jun 2007, by

Home

I left Columbus at 7:00 on Friday morning. I got home after ten p.m. tonight. I’ve done more than 7.5 hours of driving today, and I’m beat. I will post about the weekend tomorrow night, including a terrific photo of four bloggers together (Dimitri Rotov, Mannie Gentile, JD, and me). Dimitri has already posted about it, but I will put my two cents’ worth (plus the photos) in tomorrow night when I’m not quite so exhausted.

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Earlier this year, I made a conscious decision to try to cut back on my Civil War related travel some. Much as I love it, too often I don’t get paid for it, and being self-employed, if I don’t work, I don’t get paid. It’s pretty much that simple. Once Susan got laid off in February, I figured that I had better cut back in order to make sure that I’m maximizing my billable hours and maintaining cash flow. Consequently, I only committed to three out of town events for the entire summer. Two of them happen to be on back-to-back weekends, and the third one is during the third week in August.

The second event is a book signing on Satruday at the commemoration of Corbit’s Charge in Westminster, Maryland (interestingly, the linked article features the guy who accused us of plagiarizing a manuscript that neither of us had ever seen. My guess is that we will cross paths with him there on Saturday, so that will be an interesting interaction). J. D. and I will be signing there pretty much all day on Saturday, so if anyone is in the area, please stop by and say hello.

So, I’m off again tomorrow. I’m driving to Gettysburg early tomorrow morning to meet up with Dave Roth, the publisher of Blue and Gray magazine. We’re going to walk the traditional interpretation of Farnsworth’s Charge for the rebuttal that J. D. and I wrote, and which will be in the next issue. In addition, I’ve written a 3500 word piece on Stuart’s shelling of Carlisle that will also be in the next issue, so we’re going to take a run up to Carlisle so I can show Dave a few sites. Then it’s back to Gettysburg.

Saturday is the book signing. We will stay as long as it’s worth our while to stay. We will then go back to Gettysburg and spend the night there. Then, on Sunday, we’re going to head down to Antietam for some serious battlefield stomping. Ranger Mannie Gentile is going to give us a private tour, and Dimitri Rotov is going to join us there. We’re looking forward to meeting Mannie and Dimitri in person after interacting with them here. I will then head home from Antietam, probably getting back to Columbus pretty late in the evening. So, it’s going to be another banzai run this weekend. I’m then here until August 22…..

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These are most of the photos that I took in Virginia last weekend. There are a few more, but these are definitely the best of the lot. They appear pretty much in chronological order.

Turner Ashby Monument

This is the United Daughters of the Confederacy monument to Brig. Gen. Turner Ashby. It sits on the spot where Ashby was killed, which is just outside Harrisonburg. It sits in a remote, tiny park run by the UDC. JMU is building athletic fields right next to it, so it remains to be seen how those fields will impact this handsome monument.

Harrisonburg Sign

These two signs sit about twenty yards from the Ashby monument.

Cross Keys Monument

This is the UDC monument to the Battle of Cross Keys. There are a number of interpretive markers around it.

The Twin Battles Sign

This large, multi-panel marker denotes the battles of Cross Keys and Port Republic, which were fought several days and a few hundred yards apart during Stonewall Jackson’s 1862 Valley Campaign.

Jeff Wert

Jeff Wert delivering the opening address at the first session of the conference.

Gordon Rhea

Gordon Rhea delivering the keynote talk on Friday night, which was an excellent overview of the entire Overland Campaign.

The Widow Tapp Field

This is the Widow Tapp Field at the Wilderness. I shot this more or less at the location of Robert E. Lee’s headquarters.

Earthworks

This is a line of Confederate earthworks running through the Widow Tapp Field.

Lee to the Rear!

This little monument marks the spot where the famous “Lee to the Rear” marker sits on the edge of the Widow Tapp Field. It’s a nifty little monument, a few yards from the Texas monument.

The Texas Monument

This is the Texas monument. It is made of the same rose marble as all Texas monuments, and sits a few yards from the “Lee to the Rear” marker.

The Sedgewick Monument

We’ve now moved on to the Spotsylvania Court House battlefield. This monument marks the spot where Maj. Gen. John Sedgwick, the commander of the Sixth Corps, was killed by a Confederate sharpshooter just after saying, “They couldn’t hit an elephant at this range.” Wrong.

The 15th NJ Monument

This is one of the tiny handful of monuments on the Spotsylvania battlefield. There are three of them right at the Bloody Angle in the Mule Shoe. This is one of those three, the 15th New Jersey Infantry of the Sixth Corps. Just a few yards away is the marker to the 22-inch thick tree that was felled by being struck by so many bullets during the horrific fighting for the Bloody Angle.

Earthworks

These are re-created Confederate earthworks on Lee’s last line at Spotsylvania. They actually sit astride an actual and exceptionally well-preserved line of Confederate earthworks that runs through the woods you can see in the background.

North Anna

This is the only monument of any sort on the North Anna battlefield, and it’s less than twenty years old. It sits right at the entrance to the county park.

Bobby Crick

Bobby Krick deep in thought, listening to Gordon discussing Ledlie’s ill-fated attack on the Confederate lines at North Anna.

The Stafford House

After leaving the North Anna battlefield, we made our way across the Pamunkey River at some of the crossings employed by Grant, made a quick stop at Enon Church to discuss the Battle of Haw’s Shop, and then stopped at this 1725 house. This is the Shelton house. Patrick Henry was married in this house. It was donated to the Park Service last year, and will eventually serve as the visitor center/headquarters for the Park Service’s new Totopotomoy Creek unit. It’s not yet open to the public.

Three Scholars on a Busmans' Holiday!

Bobby Krick, Gordon Rhea, and yours truly on the battlefield at Cold Harbor.

The Stuart Monument

Our final stop was a quick visit to the Yellow Tavern battlefield. This is the monument to Jeb Stuart that marks the spot where he received his mortal wound. It’s a favorite monument of mine in what Bobby likes to describe as the “postage stamp park”, describing the tiny oasis in the middle of a subdivision where the monument stands.

That’s it. This was, as they say, a busman’s holiday for me. I had a fabulous time. How could you not have a fabulous time with the likes of Jeff Wert, Gordon Rhea, and Bobby Krick?

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18 Jun 2007, by

Home Again

After six very long hours of driving, I’m home. It was well into the 90’s all day as I was driving, which just adds to the fatigue. We will post photos from the trip tomorrow night.

There’s a very good, authentic New York-style bagel place across the street from the hotel where I stayed in Harrisonburg. I had breakfast there all three mornings I was in Harrisonburg. This morning, I had my breakfast and lingered for a few moments to finish reading the USA Today. When I finished the paper, I got up to leave. After busing my tray, I noticed a fellow wearing a t-shirt from the Trevilian Station Battlefield Foundation, so I jokingly said, “Nice shirt.”

The fellow said thanks, and then did one of those deep double-takes. He said, “You’re Eric Wittenberg, aren’t you?”

Now it was my turn to be shocked. I’m not used to be recognized like that, especially not in a random encounter like that far from home. I said that I was, and he indicated that I had met him at the 140th reenactment of the Battle of Trevilian Station in 2004, and that I had actually been standing next to him when he bought the shirt. That blew me away. I meet so many people doing this that it’s almost impossible to remember most of them. I didn’t recognize or remember him at all, so I did not know what to say. I quickly changed the topic and we chatted a bit. He and his wife were on their way to Vicksburg, and had spent the night in Harrisonburg.

Talk about a coincidence…..

It made my day. It made that miserable drive a little more bearable.

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17 Jun 2007, by

Weekend Wrap-Up

To say the least, it’s been a LONG weekend.

Here’s what the last two days have entailed. We will get some photos posted over the next couple of days, once I get home.

The bus picked us up at 7:45 AM yesterday morning. We headed out to the Wilderness. It’s a little over two hours from Harrisonburg to the Wilderness. The ride went quickly. Gordon Rhea did a lot of introduction to the campaign and I did a little on the cavalry.

We got to the Wilderness and unloaded. We walked the Saunders Field fights and then headed back out. Since we were tight on time, we drove from there down to the Widow Tapp Farm, site of the famous “Lee to the rear” incident. We walked the trail there, and Gordon did quite a bit of interpretation. The rest of the Wilderness interpretation was done from the bus. It included seeing the spot where Longstreet was wounded, the site where Wadsworth was killed, and several other sites. From there, we went to the visitor center at Chancellorsville for a boxed lunch. While there, I had a chance to visit with Mac Wycoff, who is a ranger and historian there.

We then drove past the Chancellor house site and down the Brock Road to Todd’s Tavern. When we got there, I interpreted the cavalry fight that occurred there and discussed the violent confrontation between Meade and Sheridan that triggered the May Richmond raid. From there, we went on to Spotsylvania Court House. We unloaded the bus at the Sedgwick monument (the spot where Uncle John got popped). Gordon interpreted the opening of the battle, and then we walked out and toured the Laurel Hill loop. It was beastly hot, and it was a long walk. From there, we hiked Upton’s attack against the west side of the Mule Shoe salient, which is a short but neat walk through the woods that ends at one of the few monuments on the battlefield at Spotsylvania. Next came the Bloody Angle assault, including walking the trail for Hancock’s assault. When we finished that, we did a final long hike of Lee’s last line, which features some absolutely spectactular earthworks through the woods. That was our last stop at Spotsylvania, although we saw a few more pertinent sites, such as Burnside’s attack against the Mule Shoe, from the bus. We finished the day’s touring with a stop at Massaponax Church. We must have walked four or five miles yesterday in nearly 90 degree heat, and boy, was I tired. We checked into the hotel and then had a nice dinner at a nearby Pizzeria Uno. I didn’t have a whole lot of trouble falling asleep last night.

This morning, it was another early start. We drove down to the nifty county park at the North Anna site. Gordon did more interpretation along the way, pointing out interesting sites from the movement south, and I showed the spot where Sheridan’s raid turned off the Telegraph Road to head toward Beaver Dam Station, which was a stop on the Virginia Central Railroad. We got to the North Anna park and Bobby Krick joined us. The group walked the trail to the apex of Lee’s position. For those who have never visited this site, these are, without doubt, the best earthworks I’ve ever seen in Virginia. They’re just spectacular, and they’re extremely well preserved. After reaching the apex, there’s a side trail you can take that takes you to an overlook of Ox Ford, and you can hear the North Anna rushing 100 feet below. The place reminded me a great deal of Ball’s Bluff, with the notable exception being that there were no earthworks at Ball’s Bluff and the Potomac is a bit wider and deeper than the North Anna. ๐Ÿ™‚

After hiking back out of there, we then loaded back up into the buses. We went from there to see some spots along the Pamunkey River, where Grant crossed the river to head toward Cold Harbor. From there, we went to Haw’s Shop. Unfortunately, Enon Church, which is an active congregation, had services in session when we got there, and the parking lot was completely full, so I had to interpret the battle from the bus. We then continued another mile or so along the Atlee Station Road on to the Stafford house–where Patrick Henry was married–to see the Totopotomoy Creek actions of May 28 and 29. The National Park Service just acquired this house and its surrounding grounds, which include some impressive earthworks thrown up by men of Winfield Scott Hancock’s Second Corps of the Army of the Potomac, last year when the elderly owner of the property died, and it’s going to serve as NPS headquarters for a new unit on the Totopotomoy Creek fighting. I’d never seen the Stafford house, so it was very cool.

From there, we went to have lunch on the Cold Harbor battlefield. After lunch, it was now in the 90’s and quite warm, with building humidity. We went to the little visitor’s center there (where I finally got around to buying a copy of Brian Burton’s book on the Seven Days, which I’d been meaning to do for some time) and then started interpreting the battle. We walked the big loop from the visitor’s center through the woods to Bloody Run and then back to the second ravine, which Gordon named Muddy Run. From there, we went to the Adams farm site, which actually is two different battlefields in one. It was the right end of the Union line in the Gaine’s Mill fight of 1862 and also was Hancock’s sector during Cold Harbor. The interesting thing about this site is that the axis was different for each. The Gaine’s Mill fight was a north/south fight, while the Cold Harbor fight covered the same ground from an east/west axis. I’d never seen this field before, and it’s in private hands. But for Bobby Krick, we wouldn’t have been able to get on the field. After loading back up and a potty stop at the Cold Harbor visitor center, we went out to the Stuart monument at Yellow Tavern. I interpreted the Battle of Yellow Tavern there, and that was the end of the day’s touring. Bobby left us–he lives near there–and we loaded up the bus and headed back to the Valley. After dinner, it was back to Harrisonburg and this hotel.

I’ve probably hiked between eight and nine miles in the last two days in some beastly heat. Once again, I’m beat. Tomorrow morning is the closing session, a farewell luncheon, and then I get to drive 7 hours home to Columbus. I should be home by this time (9:00) tomorrow night. My own bed is going to look good.

After discussing things with Gordon and Bobby, I’ve decided to tackle a book project that covers the cavalry operations of May 27-30, which will feature the Battle of Haw’s Shop and the taking of the critical road intersection at Old Cold Harbor. They’ve both offered to help, and I think it’s going to be an interesting project. Stay tuned.

For now, though, I’m tired.

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As I said earlier today, I’m here for the annual conference of the Shenandoah Civil War Associates. The program is administered through James Madison University and based there. I drove in yesterday, a lovely 7 hour drive through BFE in West Virginia. Last night we had a board meeting to plan next year’s program (which will be April 1-9, 1865) and an absolutely incredible meal.

This year’s program is the Overland Campaign of 1864. Faculty for the symposium are Gordon Rhea, Jeff Wert, Robert E. L. Krick (also known as Krick the Younger) and yours truly. Today was a partial day, mostly to introduce the campaign. Tomorrow and Sunday are battlefield stomping days. Tomorrow, we cover the Wilderness and Spotsylvania Court House. Sunday, we cover North Anna, Cold Harbor, and will make a half hour or so stop at Yellow Tavern. We return to Harrisonburg on Sunday night. There’s a final speaker on Monday morning, a panel discussion, and a farewell lunch. I will head out to drive home about 1:30 or so, meaning that I will get home about 8:30, undoubtedly exhausted. It’s supposed to be 95 on Sunday, so it’s going to be a long day in some pretty beastly heat.

This morning was free time for me, so I took advantage of it. I got up, had breakfast and then visited three different battlefields. Not far from my hotel is the site of the June 6, 1862 Battle of Harrisonburg, where Turner Ashby was killed. There’s a nifty little site there, with a couple of interpretive markers and a monument to Ashby on the spot where he bought the farm.

I left there and drove the 15 or so miles down to Port Republic, meaning that I visited the Cross Keys and Port Republic battlefields. I was alone, there’s not much interpretation out there, and nobody would ever call me an expert on Jackson’s 1862 Valley Campaign. I figured out what I could–not terribly much–enjoyed the gorgeous landscape, and headed back.

The program began at 1:00. Gordon was supposed the be the first speaker, at 1:30. However, Gordon had to be in court in St. Louis today (for those who don’t know, he’s also a lawyer), so the schedule was juggled. Jeff Wert gave a talk on the state of the armies in 1864, we had a booksigning session, and then I did a talk on cavalry operations in the Overland Campaign.

Tonight, there was a dinner. Poor Gordon–he got to Dulles and discovered that his puddle jumper flight to the Shenandoah Regional Airport had been canceled, so he had to rent a car and drive like the wind to get here by 7:30. He then gave a great overview of the entire campaign that was very useful. Not bad for a guy who’s been up since 4:00 AM.

Tomorrow morning, it’s up at 6:00 to be ready to load up the bus at 7:45. Unfortunately, Jeff Wert won’t be able to join us. His lovely wife Gloria is ill, so Jeff will be going home tomorrow instead of coming with us. Bobby Krick will join up with us on Sunday, tomorrow is Gordon and me. Trust me when I tell you that it be MAINLY Gordon. ๐Ÿ™‚

Three battlefields today. Two (three, actually, since we’re having lunch at the Chancellorsville visitor’s center) tomorrow. Three or more on Sunday. It just doesn’t get any better than this. And, as Steve Martin used to say, “I get paid for doing this….” ๐Ÿ™‚

I will try to post something tomorrow night from our hotel in Fredericksburg.

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15 Jun 2007, by

Moving Forward

Greetings from Harrisonburg, Virginia. I am here for the annual conference of The Shenandoah Civil War Associates (more on that later). I had hoped to make this post last night, but the drive here was exhausting and then I had an Associates’ board meeting last night. By the time I got back from that, it was nearly 11:00 and I was way too tired to think coherently.

Some of you may have noticed that my last post has been deleted. While I don’t regret that the post is gone, I do regret that the wonderful comments that it spurred are. Those very useful and well-considered comments, from the likes of Ken Noe and Lanny Tanton, got me thinking, and I had all day in the car alone yesterday to chew on all of this. Hence, I came to the conclusion that life is just far too short for the sort of ugliness that occurred last week, and that that sort of ugliness only splinters a community that must stand together.

Consequently, it’s time to bury the hatchet and move forward. To Kevin Levin, I apologize for lashing out at you in anger and regret my intemperate and unfortunate choice of words. To everyone else who reads this blog, I apologize to you, also.

JD has explained most of the reasons why we both overreacted in this excellent post. I don’t have a lot to add, other than to say that I’ve admitted here that I tend to be hypersensitive to criticisms of my work that suggest or otherwise imply that as an “amateur”, my work is somehow deficient. Again, while I really don’t want to get into the whole amateur vs. professional thing again, I took all of this as personal criticism when I don’t think it was necessarily intended to be. For that, I apologize.

As J.D. says, we will leave our letter to the editor of Civil War Times speak for us. We spent a lot of time on it, and so did our publisher, Ted Savas, who also signed the letter. It is temperate, well-written, well-reasoned, and says what I believe needed to be said. And there, the discussion ends.

Tonight, when I get back from dinner, I will discuss this symposium and the day’s events.

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10 Jun 2007, by

Bada Bing

For the last eight years, I’ve been a dedicated fan of The Sopranos. I’ve seen all 86 episodes at least once. I’ve closely followed the travails of Tony Soprano and his two families, his personal family and his Mafia family. I believe that The Sopranos is quite possibly the finest television drama ever, as do many critics.

Tonight was the final new episode of the show. It was a moment that I’ve both looked forward to and dreaded all at the same time. In typical David Chase fashion, some loose ends were tied up, but many were left hanging. We will never know what happened to the Russian mobster from the Pine Barrens. We don’t know whether Sil will ever recover from his wounds. We don’t know whether Tony got indicted. We will never know whether the mysterious looking guy who goes into the men’s room at the end of the final epiosde was there to kill Tony. We will never get the answers to a lot of questions. But it wouldn’t have been an appropriate ending to this great show otherwise.

Having said that, I have to say that I was really glad to see Little Carmine step up the plate and broker a deal to end the war between the New York and New Jersey families. And Phil Leotardo definitely got what he deserved. Good riddance–if ever someone deserved to be whacked it was Phil.

The only thing missing was the ducks. It would have been appropriate if Tony had seen the ducks again while searching the winter sky a few minutes before the end of the episode. It would have brought the story full circle. But alas, there were no ducks to be seen.

I will miss The Sopranos. As a family, they put the fun in dysfunctional. ๐Ÿ™‚ In the end, though, this great show was always all about family. So, it’s appropriate that it ended that way: with Tony’s family all together at the dinner table. What happens to them after that, we will never know. And perhaps it’s best that way.

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